The Superior Seal of God

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Eph. 1:13-14

I came from a background that offered no salvation assurance. I was taught and believed that I could fall in and of salvation based on behavior and whether or not I kept the ten commandments of God.

A few years ago I was suddenly challenged by the concept of salvation assurance. I happened to be studying the book of Esther at the time.  I had been asking myself if I could really trust that God alone saves and keeps me saved. I was begging God to show me what and how to believe when we came to a part of Esther’s story I hadn’t ever noticed before. Once a Law had been written and sealed with the king’s signet ring, the law could not be revoked (Esther 3 and 8:8-9:16). Only through God’s divine timing and an act of mercy would it become possible that a new law be written and sealed by the king protecting and delivering Esther, Mordecai, and all Jewish people from certain death.

This brought to mind another Bible story featuring a king’s seal. Daniel was sent to the lion’s den (Daniel 6:8-9; 17) and faced death because of an irrevocable law sealed with the king’s signet ring. But God protected Daniel and delivered him from the mouths of hungry lions.

What God revealed to me through these miraculous stories of deliverance is that if an earthly king’s seal could not be revoked, how could our Heavenly King’s seal be any less effective? Indeed it is not less effective! Eternal life means eternal, not just a period of time, and our eternal life starts at our moment of belief in Jesus Christ. The seal of God is far more potent, effective, and costly than any metal stamped in hot wax—precisely because it is not made of wax. The seal of God is made with God Himself in us; therefore we can trust our salvation is secure!

When we believe in Christ, His Holy Spirit indwells us and seals us for eternity (Eph. 1:13-14). Paul tells us that it is the Spirit of Christ in us; the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead that also brings us life and identifies us with God (Rom. 8:9-16). Once we receive the Holy Spirit, God promises He will be with us forever (John 14:16). Nothing can ever again separate us from His love (Rom. 8:38-39).

Jesus proved His superiority over all things and all people on a Sunday morning when He burst forth out of a tomb that the priests and Pharisees had insisted must be securely sealed. They remembered Jesus’ claim that on the third day He would be raised to life again. They requested a Roman guard to keep watch and the tomb be sealed to ensure His body could not be removed.

But of course, what Jesus promised could only come true. On Resurrection Sunday, Jesus broke through the seal on a heavy stone tomb, effortlessly shattering any idea that man, sin, or death could hold Him down. Only Jesus could thwart the futile schemes of man.

As we contemplate the holy works of Christ this week—His life, death and resurrection—let’s not doubt the power of Jesus to save us and keep us saved. This week we celebrate not only Jesus’ triumph over sin, but also His triumph over death proving once and for all that He is indeed Lord of Lord and King of Kings. It is because of His resurrection that we are declared free from sin and given a new life in Christ (1 Cor. 15:13-22). When we believe in the gospel of Christ we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and His seal of salvation on us cannot be revoked!

 

 

Cherie Skrivan

Cherie Skrivan

Cherie Skrivan was born and raised in the Seventh-day Adventist church and school system. She spent nearly 10 years working for the SDA church in publishing and communications. In 2005, Cherie's life was changed forever as she was born into a new life with Christ. By the grace of God she exchanged her knowledge of Christ for a relationship with Christ alone as her Savior. Today she is happily married to Jim and is a stay-at-home mom to their three kids —Kai, Mila and Marika. They live in Omaha, NE where they are members of Christ Community Church. Cherie is passionate about encouraging and helping people grow their faith and relationship in Christ and enjoys helping teach a discipleship class at their church.
Cherie Skrivan

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16 comments

  1. I met up with an Adventist at a relative’s wedding and they confronted me about going to a Baptist Church. ” I was going to be lost if I didn’t keep the Sabbath.” I stated that if I accepted Jesus Christ, I would not be lost. This experience disturbed me. Thanks to Life Assurance Ministries for helping former Adventists to get their mines straight. Only former Adventists can understand this.

    1. I also can say “AMEN” to this lovely and encouraging post. I would caution Mary against the narrow thinking that “Only former Adventists can understand this.” Sadly, many in the SDA churh have a hard time recieving this good news, but I can assure you, as one who was a pastor in that church for 22 years, there are very many more than you might percieve, who rejoice in the very same assurance that you celebrate here. Only we do not believe that once we have received Christ that we are “trapped” and unable to leave Him. Fore this reason Paul admonishes us to “examine” ourselves, to see whether we are in the faith, for if we lose faith in Christ there is nothing left for us (see Hebrews)

      1. The bible says that the new covenant is the law of God that was written in STONE is now written on our hearts – the Ten Commandments – and remain in effect for all mankind and are to be kept by “Israel of the spirit” – including the fourth commandment.

        1. Hi Brian,

          Thanks for reading my blog. Hebrews 8:13 says that the new covenant made the old covenant obsolete. Hebrews 9 continues that thought by listing all of the items that are obsolete from the Old Covenant. In Hebrews 9:4 it lists the ark of the covenant as well as all of the items in it including “the tables of the covenant”, the 10 commandments, as obsolete.

          Hebrews 10 completes the thought flowing out of chapters 8-9. In Heb 10:1 we see that the Law, (including the 10 commandments—again see Heb. 9:4) was only a shadow of good things to come and not the very form of it—namely Christ. Christ is the greater substance than the Law. The Law pointed to Him, it pointed out our inability to be obedient unto righteousness and our need for His righteousness. He became sin so that in Him we could become righteous (2 Cor. 5:21).

          In regards to the 4th commandment or keeping a seventh-day Sabbath, please see Colossians 2:14-17 which states that the decrees against us (the Old Covenant Law which could only serve to condemn us—see Rom. 5:13), was nailed to the cross. Verses 16-17 state that the weekly Sabbath day observance was a shadow of what was to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. He is our Sabbath rest in the new Covenant.

          The Law, including the 10 commandments, was a shadow that pointed to Christ and was fulfilled for us by Christ. He is the substance of our righteousness. That is a consistent view throughout the entire Bible.

          Blessings in Christ,
          Cherie

  2. I was raised Catholic and never understood that my eternal life was secure simply by claiming Christ as my savior.. I, too, was of the misunderstanding that my eternal salvation was by works. Thanks for the awesome post, Cherie!

  3. Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

    Wondering what it means to “grieve” the Holy Spirit?

  4. II Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.

  5. Wondering what it means to “grieve” the Holy Spirit?

    In Adventism I was taught “grieving the Holy Spirit” meant that the Holy Spirit would leave you if you sinned or disobeyed. However this reveals a “works-oriented” means to salvation. There is something we can “do” to either gain or lose our salvation. I was also taught (via the Adventist prophet, Ellen G. White) that during end times the Holy Spirit would be removed from the believer. They would have to stand alone to endure persecution and sinful temptations; thus the importance of learning now how to obey the 10 commandments. Practice makes perfect. If one practiced commendable obedience now, they would be able to remain faithfully obedient to the end—without the power of the Holy Spirit.

    There are several problems these views reveal:
    1. It reveals salvation by faith plus works with a greater emphasis on works. The Bible tells us that salvation is a result of Christ’s righteousness imputed/credited to the believer upon their belief. Salvation is not earned or attained through man’s obedience. We are justified by faith not works (Rom. 5:1; Eph 2:8-9, etc…).

    2. It reveals a misunderstanding of the work of the Holy Spirit. SDAs confuse good works of righteousness as their own, instead of the fruit of the Holy Spirit as a result of salvation. As taught by Ellen G. White, they believe man can practice perfect obedience (by Christ’s example) unto perfection/salvation.

    3. Adventism does not understand nor teach an eternal spirit. They do not understand that when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden it was their spirits that died that day disconnecting them from God. And so it is the condition we are all born into—dead in our sin—death meaning spiritually disconnected from God (Rom. 5:12-21). They do not understand it is only through the new birth of the Spirit that a dead spirit can be brought to life again and reconciled back to God. It is this new birth and reconciliation that is salvation and eternal life and we obtain it by faith, a gift from God (John 3, Eph. 2). Eternal means forever and it starts at the moment of faith and our new birth (John 5:24, John 3:16, etc…). SDAs have no concept of an eternal spirit, eternal life beginning at the moment of belief, or the necessity for man to be born again (spiritual birth). In their paradigm man’s spirit (or breath as they understand “spirit”), for the believer or unbeliever alike, dies with their physical death and remains dormant (sleeping) until Christ’s return. “Forever” does not mean forever, nor does it mean eternal prior to glorification. In particular they do not believe in an eternal hell or separation from God.

    4. Ellen G. White teaches and SDAs believe that the seal of God is Sabbath-keeping. The Bible teaches that the seal of God is the Holy Spirit. He not only authors our new birth and salvation (pointing us to Christ) He authenticates it; marking us set apart as Children of God. Just like we cannot undo nor repeat our physical birth once we are born out of the womb, we cannot undo nor repeat our spiritual birth once we are born again of Spirit (John 3). The Holy Spirit is the seal of our salvation and our guarantee of eternal life (Eph. 1:13-14). It is a guarantee because it is based on the works of Christ (all-sufficient) and not our own.

    To understand that the Holy Spirit comes and goes based on our behavior or acts of obedience misrepresents the role of the Holy Spirit and the teachings of Jesus:

    “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you FOREVER; ….but you know Him because He abides with you and will be IN you—John 14:16-17 (emphasis mine)

    “Grieve” or “lypeo” in the Greek (Strongs G3076) means to make sorrowful, to affect with sadness, to grieve, to offend. It does not mean to chase away, send away, or remove the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

    When the believer willfully sins it does grieve the Holy Spirit. There is a cost associated with sin. As an unbeliever the cost is remaining in a state of eternal death (eternal separation from God). As a believer the cost is their witness of Christ but not their salvation (1 Cor. 3:11-16).

    Consider another word Paul uses to describe what happens when we grieve the Spirit with disobedient behavior. He uses the word “quench”—“do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19). When we act disobediently we quench the Holy Spirit suppressing His Holy fire. We quiet His flame within us and there is little to no evidence of the fruit of righteousness or our testimony of Christ.

    Now contrast disobedience to surrender. When the believer yields or surrenders to the Holy Spirit they are “filled” with the Spirit and able to “walk” in the Spirit (Eph. 5:2, 8, 18, etc…). Righteous acts of obedience are the evidence of salvation and the power and outpouring of the fruit of the Holy Spirit inside the believer (Gal. 5:22-25, Ephesians, James, etc…).

    When the believer grieves the Holy Spirit, it is exactly that—our sin causes Him great sorrow and can effectively quiet His flame and power. We (temporarily) lose our witness of Christ in us. It’s a sobering thought and perhaps a time for re-evaluation. However, if one’s conversion (new birth) was authentic it does not change the Holy Spirit’s residence. He remains, as Jesus says, IN the believer FOREVER (John 14:16-17). Our salvation is secure. Praise God!!!!

    1. 1. Wondering what it means to “grieve” the Holy Spirit?
      In Adventism I was taught “grieving the Holy Spirit” meant that the Holy Spirit would leave you if you sinned or disobeyed.
      I admit that many SDA believe this “on-off” understanding of the relationship between the believer and the Saviour. As a pastor I found myself in conflict with people who suffered under this misunderstanding. It seems that your SDA association was among this segment of SDA. But I cannot agree with you as you swing to other extreme. There is abundant scriptural evidence that teaches us that although the Holy Spirit doesn’t abandon the believer at the first mistake or even we persist in stubborn or selfish insistence on our own way, if the believer persists in his/her pursuit of sin, the Holy Spirit…the personal representative/presence of the holy God,… will eventually say in effect, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?” Hosea 11:8
      The way our gracious God has dealt with Israel in the past (as recorded to instruct us), is also a revelation of His loving heart toward us as individuals. He pursues us, He woos us, He stands at the door and knocks (See Rev and also Song of Solomon). God is a “gentleman” and will never force us by the arbitrary exercise of His sovereignty, nor will He entrap us so that we cannot refuse Him. Those who are eternally lost will be lost because they persistently refuse His gracious entreaty. This is why the late Robert Wieland consistently held out the challenge to Adventism to consider that “It is easy to be saved, and hard to be lost.”

      1. Bruin, in regards to your comment regarding the “on”-“off” relationship with the believer and the Savior, we formers do not “suffer” under any misunderstanding” of SDA teaching. It is the very message embedded in the “Great Controversy” written by Ellen G. White and heralded still today by the SDA church (ever more loudly as they are in the process of distributing millions of copies into the hands of both SDAs and non-SDAs around the world via the same book renamed “The Great Hope”). Again, I will let Ellen G. White speak for herself. Note that she and the SDA church teach that the “Gentleman” Jesus Himself will quit being the intercessor for the RIGHTEOUS. He leaves them, they don’t refuse Him. They have accepted Him by faith and He has credited them as righteous.

        Then Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above. {GC 613.2}……..In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. {GC 614.1}

        Scripture tells us:
        “Therefore He is able also to save *forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”—Heb. 7:25

        “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”—Mt. 28:20

        Ellen G. White (“The Great Controversy”):
        …..As Satan accuses the people of God on account of their sins, the Lord permits him to try them to the uttermost. Their confidence in God, their faith and firmness, will be severely tested. As they review the past, their hopes sink; for in their whole lives they can see little good. They are fully conscious of their weakness and unworthiness. Satan endeavors to terrify them with the thought that their cases are hopeless, that the stain of their defilement will never be washed away. He hopes so to destroy their faith that they will yield to his temptations and turn from their allegiance to God. {GC 618.3}…….Though God’s people will be surrounded by enemies who are bent upon their destruction, yet the anguish which they suffer is not a dread of persecution for the truth’s sake; they fear that every sin has not been repented of, and that through some fault in themselves they will fail to realize the fulfillment of the Saviour’s promise: I “will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world.” Revelation 3:10. If they could have the assurance of pardon they would not shrink from torture or death; but should they prove unworthy, and lose their lives because of their own defects of character, then God’s holy name would be reproached. {GC 619.1}

        In the passages above it’s important to note this is again referring to the righteous, “people of God”, who have been abandoned by the Trinity during this horrible “Time of Trouble” (chp. 39 of the “Great Controversy”). It’s important to note these believers do not have a clue as their “worthiness” to the Savior. They “anguish” over unconfessed sin and “fear” that through “some fault in themselves” they do not have the “assurance” of their Saviors pardon. These statements expose the understanding that salvation is in part dependent on their works instead of fully on Christ’s works alone.

        SDAs are taught and conditioned to not be sure of their salvation. This isn’t an issue of “freewill”. The doctrine of the Investigative Judgement twists Christ’s atonement, the necessity of man’s works and salvation assurance in a completely distorted and different direction.

        Again in the words of Ellen G. White:
        “We are never to rest in a satisfied condition, and cease to make advancement, saying, “I am saved.” … No one is saved who is a transgressor of the law of God, which is the foundation of his government in heaven and in earth.” —Review and Herald June 17, 1890, par. 8

        “Those who accept the Savior, however sincere their conversion, should never be taught to say or feel that they are saved.” —Christ’s Object Lessons, pg. 155 par. 1

        “Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement.” —Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 214 par. 2

        But here is what the Bible tells us and what Jesus wants us to know:
        I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. —1 John 5:13

        “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.—John 5:24

        God WANTS US TO KNOW and be confident of our salvation. Jesus never ceases being our Intercessor. He will never leave us alone to wonder and fret of our worthiness or forgiveness. What Ellen G. White describes above bears NO fruit of peace and assurance in the life of the believer. This is exactly the opposite of what God wants for us and of our testimony of Christ. Jesus in us, and the testimony of the Holy Spirit in us, is given to us specifically that we may KNOW that we are sons of God.

        “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”—Rom. 8:16, see also verses 9-17.

        Blessed assurance Jesus is mine and I am His,
        Cherie

  6. I was also taught (via the Adventist prophet, Ellen G. White) that during end times the Holy Spirit would be removed from the believer. They would have to stand alone to endure persecution and sinful temptations;
    It is really amazing, astonishing in fact, that folks can build their beliefs around careless reading and superficial knowledge. The fact is that EGW neither said nor wrote what you have blamed her for here Cherie. In fact she did write something similar, but the difference makes all the difference. You may also reject what she actually said, but disagree with what she did say, and refrain from blaming her for what she didn’t say. It is the “intercessor” who will no longer be available, and that “intercessor” is the One spoken of in the book of Hebrews, and this statement corresponds to the declaration in Revelation that the time will come when that intercession will have ceased (Rev. 22:11). Christ’s promise is immutable…He will be with us “always”. The ceasation of His mediatorial work in the heavenly sanctuary (as described and affirmed in the book of Hebrews), does not in any way suggest that the presence of the Holy Spirit, the paraclete of Christ will depart from the believer, ever. Only those who have refused the gospel experience of the new birth which involves death to self and life only in Christ will be among those who are judged “filthy” and will no longer have the opportunity to receive Christ who is the believer’s “wisdom from God, [b]and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (I Cor. 1:30) It is scripturally supported to believe that the opportunity to receive Christ will come to an end at a time in the future, sooner or later, yet certain.

  7. There are several problems these views reveal:I will not take on what follows, since you are attacking a straw-man. I will only say that I do not believe you can find explicit Biblical support for your theory involving some sort of “dead spirit” in the unsaved vs a “live spirit” in those who are born again. Of course we all know that we as SDA reject the Pagan notion of Dualism. Nor do we accept the notion that anyone (saved or unsaved) current possess immortality except in the promise. “God only has immortality” (I Tim. 6:16. See also I Cor. 15:53, 54; Romans 2:7; II Tim. 1:10) Immortality is ours by promise, but will only be ours by experience at the time of the second coming of Christ and the resurrection.

    1. Eph 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

      John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

      John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

      John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life

      Notice that believers don’t perish and already posses eternal life.

      John 8:52 The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’

      How did Jesus raise Himself if He had no consciousness? He said it was He who would raise Himself (John 2:19).

      The SDA denial of a living spirit within us is one of their foundational doctrinal errors.

    2. Rick—thanks for these awesome verses. They certainly reveal that our eternal life is immediate at the moment of belief.

      Bruin—You and I will likely agree there are 3 “phases” of salvation—justification, sanctification and glorification. What you are addressing in regards to immortality is the stage of glorification—Glorification is a future promise for the believer. The perishable (flesh) will become imperishable, immortal (1 Cor. 15:52-54).

      What we will probably disagree on is man’s justification. The Bible teaches that man’s justification (legal declaration of righteousness unto salvation) is a one time event (Rom. 3:24-26; Rom. 4:5; Rom. 5:1, etc…). SDAs, however, see justification as an ongoing phase interwoven with sanctification. Justification is ongoing as Jesus continues to atone for and blot out sin in the heavenly sanctuary (i.e.: the Investigative Judgment or Pre-advent Judgment). According to this doctrine, salvation is ultimately not determined until Jesus has reviewed all the books and sins of professed believers. If sins are unconfessed or not blotted out, the person will not be saved.

      This reveals that justification/salvation, according to the SDA doctrine, is based on the merit of man’s works (at least in part) instead of on the merit of Christ’s righteousness alone.

      But the Bible tells us that justification, God’s declaration of man’s righteousness, is based on the merit of Christ’s righteousness (we receive it by faith). It is a result of Christ’s righteous that we are declared righteous and as a result we are reconciled back into relationship with God. Let’s take a look:

      But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. —Rom. 5:8-11

      The Bible tells us that our salvation is so secure at the moment we believe (justification) that it is as if our future reality of glorification is already completed in a spiritual sense. So there is this “now and a not yet” to our salvation.

      “and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”—Rom. 8:30

      When we are justified we are literally sealed by the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our salvation (Eph. 1:13-14); and in a spiritual sense (now) yet future reality, we are glorified and seated in heavenly places (Eph. 2:8). This is all based on the merit of Christ’s righteousness credited to us and it is what reconciles us back into a life-giving relationship with God.

      So, what does all this have to do with a “dead” v. a “live” spirit? Re-consider what happened in the Garden when Adam and Eve sinned. The day they ate from the tree something died. Otherwise God is a liar (Gen. 2:17). What died that day was their spirits—their spiritual, life-giving connection and relationship with God. Their relationship was severed. They became children of wrath and so it is for all mankind born from that day forward. The Bible tells us we all are born dead in sin through the first Adam and are reconciled back to God, through Christ, the second Adam (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21-22; 1 Cor. 15:44-49).

      The lie in the SDA doctrine of the “State of the Dead” teaches that “death” at it’s core is a state of non-existence and unconsciousness. But Obviously that isn’t what happened to Adam and Eve that day in the Garden. Nor is what Jesus taught in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazerus (Luke 16:19-31). In this story, Jesus taught the Rich Man had died and his body was buried, but (his spirit) was taken to Hades, a place of torment (vs. 22-23). Lazerus, died and (his spirit) was taken to Abraham’s bosom (v. 22). In this description of the spirit world, these men, both physically dead have separated spirits that are VERY conscious and VERY aware of their circumstances. They can also communicate. The Rich Man begs that someone from the spirit world could go back and warn his 5 brother so their lives don’t end with the same fate.

      Jesus is truth. He uses truth to teach a truth. He doesn’t lie.

      We have to understand that “death”/sin, in a Biblical sense, means a disconnection from our Creator and life source—God. However, this is an unnatural state of existence and not how he created man to be. We were created to be in relationship with Him. God Himself as the Trinity is relationship. In the most literal sense immortality (G110 athanasia) does belong to God alone. He truly is the only One without beginning and end and with an inseparable spirit. We are His creation, made in His image, BUT we have a beginning (conception) and we certainly have a separate spirit (this is evidenced in Scripture and seems to be a result of sin). So our eternal life upon belief (now and upon glorification) hinges on our relationship to Christ—that we die to self and are quite literally credited with His righteousness as well as His resurrected (immortal) body (Rom. 6:1-12).

      Everything hinges on Christ and our relationship to Him. He affords us more than we can imagine, more than we could ever repay—the amazing thing is He doesn’t ask us to. It’s all a free gift available upon belief. His life and death and resurrection mean everything to us (1 Cor. 15:17) and so much of that gets lost in Adventist doctrine.

  8. 4. Ellen G. White teaches and SDAs believe that the seal of God is Sabbath-keeping. Another example of a misrepresentation by caricature…a straw man. The question of the “seal of God” is far more complex than this misstatement, and complete understanding involves more than simply stating the truth that we are indeed sealed by the Holy Spirit. The sealing has ramifications and results in the believer’s life that go beyond the seminal truth of “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” Paul is quite voluminous on this subject. There are outward visible evidences in the life of the born again ones of the inward transformation that takes place when faith replaces unbelief.

    1. From a Biblical perspective, the seal of God is not a complex issue. It is the Holy Spirit and “we are sealed in Him” at the moment of belief (Eph. 1:13-14).

      However, I agree that the SDA view of the “Seal of God” is very complex (not to mention unfounded in Scripture). The seal is given based on performance not faith. One receives the seal of God by obedience to God’s Laws, most specifically keeping/obeying the 4th commandment (the seventh-day Sabbath). Weaving this teaching into the Three Angels Message and making Sabbath-keeping a part of the “everlasting gospel” of Rev. 14 is writing an idea in Scripture that isn’t there. It changes the gospel making it a false gospel; as well as weakens Christ’s atonement and righteousness. It also blasphemes the Holy Spirit—shifting the focus away from God, to a day of worship. But, I will let Ellen G. White speak for herself (see quotes below). We are each required to test the spirits. Does she teach truth or contradict the Word of God?

      The Sabbath is not introduced as a new institution but as having been founded at creation. Pointing to God as the Maker of the heavens and the earth, it distinguishes the true God from false gods. Thus the Sabbath is the sign of man’s allegiance to God. The fourth commandment is the only one of the ten in which are found both the name and the title of the Lawgiver, the only one that shows by whose authority the law is given. Thus it contains the seal of God. (“Eternity Past”, pg. 212)

      The Lord commands by the same prophet: “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples.” Isaiah 8:16. The seal of God’s law is found in the fourth commandment. This only, of all the ten, brings to view both the name and the title of the Lawgiver. It declares Him to be the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and thus shows His claim to reverence and worship above all others. Aside from this precept, there is nothing in the Decalogue to show by whose authority the law is given. When the Sabbath was changed by the papal power, the seal was taken from the law. The disciples of Jesus are called upon to restore it by exalting the Sabbath of the fourth commandment to its rightful position as the Creator’s memorial and the sign of His authority. {The Great Controversy 452.1}

      The Sabbath is the sign of God; it is the seal of His law. Isaiah 8:16. It is the token of His authority and power. It is a sign whereby we may know that He is God, and therefore it is appropriately said to be placed in the forehead. The worshipers of the beast (Revelation 13) are said to receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands. As the forehead represents the intellect, the hand represents power, as Psalm 89:48, “Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?” Compulsory worship is not acceptable to God; His servants are sealed only in their foreheads. But it is acceptable to wicked powers; it has always been craved by the Romish hierarchy. See chapter 25 for proof on the nature of this mark. The sign or seal of God is his Sabbath, and the seal or mark of the beast is in direct opposition to it; it is a counterfeit Sabbath on the “day of the sun.” According to Revelation 14:9-12, they who do not receive the mark of the beast keep the commandments of God; and the Sabbath is in the fourth precept; they keep the Sabbath of the Lord; they have his sign or seal. The importance of this sign is shown in this, that the fourth commandment is the only one in the law which distinguishes the Creator from false gods. Compare Jeremiah 10:10-12; Acts 17:23, 24; Revelation 14:6, 7, etc. and it is that part of his law for keeping which his people will suffer persecution. But when the wrath of God comes upon the persecutors who are found enforcing the sign or mark of the beast, then they will realize the importance of the Sabbath,—the seal of the living God. They who turn away from that which the Lord spoke when his voice shook the earth, will confess their fatal error when his voice shall shake the heavens and the earth. Hebrews 12:25, 26; Joel 3:9-16, and others. See also pages 639, 640 of this book. {The Great Controversy 1888 691.3}

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